UNCW making parking improvements?


Travis Stoker

UNCW parking construction

Veronica Wernicke, Opinion Editor

Editor’s Note: Veronica Wernicke is a sophomore at UNCW majoring in Communication Studies and is the Opinion Editor for The Seahawk. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Veronica Wernicke may be found on Twitter @itsveronica98. All suggestions and inquiries may be sent via email to [email protected].

Another new school year begins and the complaints around campus parking issues still linger.

Getting to and from campus for UNC Wilmington students can be a struggle. Especially when it comes to finding a spot to park. Despite the nearly 40 parking lots around campus, there still seems to be frustration surrounding the current situation.

Probably because not enough of the spaces are allotted for commuter students.

The problem gets worse depending on when you physically get on campus. The later in the afternoon — when most students are on campus — the more time you will probably spend searching for a parking spot, which could ultimately lead to a late class arrival. Problematic much?

One zone made up of two lots are reserved for visitors, one zone made up of 20 lots are reserved for faculty and staff, four zones made up of 10 lots and one deck are reserved for campus residents and five zones made up of 8 lots and one deck — shared with residents — are reserved for commuters.

As a sophomore and commuter student, I got to deal with the wonderful conclusion that there is only one lot for me to choose from and that is the “Park and Ride College” off-campus lot. Yes, an off-campus lot. The lot is only across the street from campus, but it will still be painful knowing there are other lots that are actually on-campus. I’m really looking forward to those rainy days, in case you were wondering.

The remaining commuter lots are reserved for juniors, seniors, graduate students, TAs and military students. There are even two lots that are only for grad students. Which I’m sure, given that we have just under 2000 grad students, is not quite enough space. The commuter zone gold is for seniors and grad students and commuter zone two is for juniors and seniors.

I understand that more upperclassmen live off campus, but there have got to be plenty of sophomores living off campus as well. I’m not sure how many sophomores make up the entire student body, but it would be nice to have more than one lot available — preferably one on campus. Maybe we could even get our own lot on campus.

They could fix or at least start to address this problem by shifting around freshman resident parking. Instead of allowing all freshman to park on campus they could somehow limit the number or join other universities in not allowing freshmen to have cars on campus.

All freshman are required to live on campus to “get acquainted with campus better” — insert eye-roll — so therein lies part of the problem — but that’s for another article. Are they really getting acquainted if they have a car on campus?

I did not have a car when I lived on campus freshman year and I survived. Between your roommates, all the new people you meet and services like Uber, freshmen don’t really need a car on campus.

Changing that policy up would surely free up some space for people who really need parking spaces like commuters and upperclassmen.

Although, according to a recent StarNewsOnline article, UNCW plans to add a new parking deck with 800 spaces, it is still unclear who will get to use this parking space, which is planned to be complete by Fall 2020. As UNCW’s student population continues to increase. I just hope these spaces will help.

While it seems like UNCW is starting to address its current parking problems, there is still room for improvement. Adding more lots for commuters and sophomores is just an idea.